Middleburg: A Zeppelin-Friendly Community
Smashwords Edition, copyright 2012, Paul Hawkins
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Author’s note: I know I have used the terms blimp, dirigible, and zeppelin interchangeably - mea culpa. They all float. -- Paul Hawkins
Enzo Fabrioli was a third generation American, descended from Staten Island immigrants. Enzo Fabrioli loved his country, and he had always loved airships. No one had to tell him about them - as a boy he had seen them in a book and been instantly filled with wonder. He had asked his papa about them and his papa told him about the great airships of yesteryear. His papa also told him to get his head out of the clouds, but Enzo never did. His grand papa, who spoke hardly any English, told him to keep dreaming, since he was only a boy.
And as he grew up, Enzo saw that intra-city travel by dirigible was an idea whose time had come, but it was only by the time he reached middle age that he saw a chance to do something about it, Cash-strapped European governments were having yard sales left and right, and Enzo was able to take the money he had scraped together from a series of successive but unsatisfying careers and buy a military blimp from a nigh-insolvent nation for a song. He took it home the only way he could - on a leisurely flight somewhat governed by the courses of the wind and subsequently violating the airspaces and raising the alarm of several sovereign nations. Jet planes circled him like angry hornets but no one ever actually shot him down. After a while he just flipped off the radio because he could not understand the air marshals’ panicked commands in foreign languages anyway, except for some of the Italian - he father had remembered enough from his father to cuss in it. And so eventually he lofted across the Atlantic towards home. At the Eastern seaboard he came perilously close to gracing Washington DC with his blimp's lazy shadow before a breeze gently steered him toward Baltimore, and so he was able to make it ploddingly home with a front-page-making crisis avoided. On the way he decided he should name the airship Bessie.